The Cubs' Bullpen Needs, More Love for Chavez, LDS, and Other Bullets

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The Cubs’ Bullpen Needs, More Love for Chavez, LDS, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

The weekend, you may have noticed, was light on content. That was the product of both the Cubs’ season having just ended, and also me wanting to enjoy some family time after eight months of baseball. Weekends during the baseball season (going all the way back to Spring Training) can be really challenging to coordinate coverage and also family stuff. In the offseason, I will not infrequently take a blow on the weekends if there isn’t pressing news/rumors. There will always be *something* here, but you can probably expect it to be slower on the weekends until we really get into rumor season in a few weeks.

  • The Brewers handily beat the Rockies, again, completing their NLDS sweep. I already said complimentary things about them this morning, and I feel ill, so I won’t do it again here.
  • The Braves blew a huge lead to the Dodgers, but managed to just barely hang on to win their NLDS match-up, staving off a sweep. They play game four today at 3:30 pm CT, and if the Dodgers win, they’ll head to the NLCS against the Brewers on Friday.
  • Elsewhere, the Astros try to complete their inevitable sweep of the Indians this afternoon, and the Yankees and Red Sox play Game Three of their ALDS series in New York tonight, with the series tied 1-1. I know some folks get sick of NYY/BOS, but I think it’s great for the game for that to be a tight series in the spotlight.
  • Jesse Chavez, who will be a free agent when the World Series ends, recently told ESPN – in the heat of the Wild Card loss – that if he wasn’t wearing a Cubs jersey next year, he’s done. A great sentiment by a guy who was absolutely fantastic, to be sure, but it’s not hard to imagine him being a little caught up in the moment. With the dust having settled a bit, he spoke with The Athletic about his time with the Cubs and his desire to return next year. He’s open to any role with the Cubs next year – something he did so well for the Cubs – and he certainly loved his time with the Cubs. My read now, though, is that it isn’t going to be a literal Cubs-or-bust situation. I hope the sides explore a deal this month before free agency arrives.
  • It was just 39.0 innings, so you can’t say it *would* have lasted, but if Chavez did over a full season what he did with the Cubs, he would have posted the best reliever ERA in the league (1.15, second best would be Jeremy Jeffress at 1.29 – only one other reliever, Jared Hughes, was even under 2!), and the fourth best FIP (2.39). Dude was elite-elite-elite-elite, and it’s not like the Cubs were hiding him in low-leverage or even giving him a set, comfortable role!
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • A reminder about the state of the Cubs’ bullpen, in terms of guys on the 40-man who are under control for next year:
  1. Brandon Morrow
  2. Pedro Strop
  3. Steve Cishek
  4. Carl Edwards Jr.
  5. Brian Duensing
  6. Mike Montgomery
  7. Randy Rosario
  8. Brandon Kintzler($5 million player option, likely to exercise)
  9. Dillon Maples
  10. James Norwood
  11. Alec Mills
  12. Allen Webster
  • Yeah, I mean, if a lot breaks the Cubs way, if there’s near perfect health, and if a minor league or two comes up and surprises (and if a starter moves into the bullpen and succeeds), I can squint and see a good bullpen. But it’s much, much easier to imagine a total disaster. The Cubs are fortunate that there’s a VERY robust relief market in free agency this year, but they should nevertheless be looking to lock Chavez down on a friendly deal to create a bit of a buffer heading into free agency.
  • Related: anyone else want the Cubs to consider retaining Jorge De La Rosa, too? We’ll probably have to take a look at that one soon.
  • Double related, and I don’t quite know what I think about this yet, so I’m gonna put it out there and mull:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.